By G. Buckingham 1837
If Christ sanctioned slavery, by remaining silent upon the subject, he sanctioned the laws, regulating the system, for there is not in the new testament, a word of condemnation for them. What were those laws? Two or three, were as follows. A slave was struck out of the list of moral agents, and consigned to that of brutes. A slave might, at any time, be killed by his master, without punishment. A slave might be sold twice, by the same master, before he could claim his freedom.
The fact that a practice is not condemned by name, is no reason at all that it is right. Under the argument of our opponents, the midnight gambler, and the Sabbath breaker, may escape rebuke. The owners of theaters, the performers themselves, and those who waste their time and money in nightly attendance upon these demoralizing representations, may still drink the "shed blood" and eat the "broken body" of the crucified Redeemer worthily!! Burglary, counterfeiting, forgery, horse racing and polygamy, are likewise passed by the Saviour and his apostles, without condemnation, except by implication. No christian, can justify any of these practices, on the ground that silence is preserved respecting them. The iniquitous features of every leading vice are condemned, and among others, SLAVERY does not escape the fiery ordeal of the new testament morality. The main characteristics of American slavery, are all made criminal by the new testament.
1. Slave laws allow the separation of man and wife, by the order of the master.
N. T. "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder," Matthew xix.6.
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate" (Matthew 19:6, nasb).
2. Slave laws forbid the slaves from worshiping God by themselves.
N. T. "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together," Heb. x. 25.
“Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25, nasb).
3. Slave laws exact labor without wages, in millions of instances.
N. T. "The hire of the laborers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth," &c. James, v. 1 to 6.
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you” (James 5:1-6, nasb).
4. Slave laws shut out the knowledge of letters from the mind of the slave.
N. T. Search the scriptures.
5. Southern slavery encourages the stealing of men on the coast of Africa; for though prohibited by the laws of the land, they are still smuggled in.
N. T. "The law was made for murderers, men-slayers, men-stealers," &c. (alluding to Ex. xxi. 16.) classing them among the vilest criminals of the earth.
"He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:16, nasb).
6. Slave laws in North Carolina, make it penal, to give or sell a slave any book, even the bible! In Georgia and Louisiana, a free black may be fined, whipped, imprisoned, and in the latter State, even put to death, for instructing his own children to read the pathway to eternal life!!
N. T. "Woe unto you lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge," Luke, xi. 52
“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering” (Luke 11:52, nasb).
"Ye fathers bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," Ephesians, vi. 4.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesian 6:4, nasb).
7. The New Testament condemns the selling of one's self into slavery, much more, one man selling another. "Ye are not your own: ye are bought."
8. It is the testimony of all candid slave-holders, and we positively know from the very nature of things, that slavery encourages general licentiousness.
N. T. In many places condemns adultery and fornication.